$1 billion of Egyptian debt to US will become development grants: officials

Ahram Online, Thursday 30 Jun 2011

Two Egyptian officials confirm agreements for American loan swaps and loan guarantees following meetings in Cairo and Washington

Samir Radwan and David Lipton

Egypt’s finance minister says he has discussed the dropping of one third of Egypt’s debt to the United States over the coming three years with Obama advisor, David Lipton, who is currently leading a top level American delegation to Cairo.

Samir Radwan said the loan swap deal comes as part of the American assistance package announced in late May which would serve development purposes. Egypt currently owes around $3.6 billion to the US.

Radwan’s comments were backed up by a statement from an Egyptian foreign ministry official during the Egypt Forward conference in Washington.

Al-Husseini Abdul-Wahab, Assistant Foreign Minister for Americas, said that the US administration has set a package of assistance to boost the Egyptian economy, envisaging the turning of US$1 billion worth of debts for the US into grants.

The US aid also includes another $1 billion, of which $300 million will be assigned to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and $700 million in loan guarantees, according to Abdul-Wahab.

He noted that US delegations started visiting Egypt last month, including members of the Egyptian-US Business Council.

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